Wakefield, Ma. 2-26-18. School buses leaving Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational Technical High School with students after the school was dismissed after a lock down.
School buses leave Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational Technical High School after the school was placed on a lock down. (Owen O'Rourke)

False alarm leads to Northeast Metro Tech lockdown

A false alarm led officials to lock down Northeast Metropolitan Regional Technical Vocational High School for a short period on Monday.

A student first reported seeing the threat on social media Monday at 10:30 a.m., according to a statement released by Wakefield Police. The school was locked down and Wakefield Police were called in to address the situation.

"It was quickly determined that the social media post observed by the student was actually referencing a school in Maryland," said David DiBari, the school superintendent in a statement. "I want to emphasize there is no threat and no danger to our school. But I am very proud that a student felt comfortable enough to bring her concerns forward and the procedures we have in place worked as designed today."

Officers did not sweep the school for a any threat because they were confident the offending message targeted a different school, Wakefield Police Chief Richard Smith said during a press conference outside the school.

Students were released for the day after the lockdown was lifted because their day was disrupted and parents wanted them home, said Smith.

Kids at nearby Wakefield High School had been sheltering in place during the Northeast Metro Tech lockdown, according to officials.

Peter Rossetti Jr., the Saugus representative on the Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School Committee, said he was relieved to learn the threat was a false alarm.

"Security has been a major concern for us," he said. "We have police resource officers that we depend on and teachers are very aware. Safety is a high priority for us."

Northeast Metro Tech serves students from Saugus, Revere, Chelsea, Malden, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn.

The alert comes nearly two weeks after a 19-year-old gunman returned to a Florida high school where he had once been expelled and opened fire with an assault rifle on Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others before he was arrested.

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